Gordon W. Weir of Santa Rosa, a world traveler and a decorated World War II veteran, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 88.
A native of Greenfield, Mass., he was raised in Southern California before joining the Army Air Corps in 1943.
He served as a lead navigator in B-24s and B-17s in the 861st Squadron, 493rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, in 1944 and 1945. He flew in 30 missions over Europe, including one in which only two of the 12 planes returned to England.
He was training as a fighter pilot for service in the Pacific when the war ended.
However, he never talked about his service, even after his son found three silver navigator's medals in the bottom of a drawer.
"He put his medals in a box and forgot about it," said son Robert Weir of Sonoma. "He wanted to put it all behind him."
Gordon Weir later attended a reunion for the 8th Air Force and became active in the 8th Air Force Historical Society.
After the war he enrolled at UCLA and received a degree in geology. He worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Kentucky, Arizona and Indonesia. He retired and moved to Santa Rosa 17 years ago.
Weir was married to his wife, Doris, for 61 years. They traveled extensively to Russia, Europe and Asia.
He was active in the First Congregational United Church of Christ, including a men's club and the Home Alone program in which he would call people living alone at home.
"He always thought of the other person," said Robert Weir. "He was intelligent, caring and interesting."
Besides his wife and son Robert, Weir is survived by a son, William Weir of Santa Rosa; a daughter, Nancy Weir of San Francisco, and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Santa Rosa.
— Bob Norberg